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Intel Corp. on Thursday – at the annual meeting with investors – revealed its new roadmap for the series of mobile chips known as Atom. The new general plan reveals chips due in the second half of 2014 and in 2015 as well as unveils certain aspects of Intel’s approach to the portable device segment in general. In a bid to better serve the market, Intel said it would converge its offerings for tablets and smartphones, but will add a line of entry-level SoCs for entry-level devices.

“Market-oriented pragmatism” is the new motto of Intel’s mobile and communication group, which is planning to introduce a set of new products designed to expressively improve the company’s positions in the mobile space. Starting from 2014, instead of offering considerably different system-on-chips (SoCs) based on generally similar architecture for smartphones and media tablets, Intel will offer one design with different options. In addition to that, the company will introduce specially-developed highly-integrated application processors for entry-level devices.

Merrifield, Moorefield and Cherry Trail: the Evolution Goes On

The first key Atom product that Intel wants to release next year is code-named Merrifield, which is a high-end smartphone/mid-range tablet solution based on two x86 Silvermont cores, improved graphics core, integrated sensor hub, but without any baseband capabilities. The second iteration of this product will be code-named Moorefield, which will feature four Silvermont cores, enhanced security as well as improved battery life. Both system-on-chips will be made using 22nm process technology.

Sometimes in mid-2014 the company plans to release its all-new TD-LTE & TD-SCDMA modem that will support advanced capabilities like carrier aggregation, 300Mb/s Cat 6 network speeds as well as 17 4G/LTE FDD bands and 6 TDD bands. A powerful truly-global communication solution should become quite popular among many handset makers.

Intel intends to release code-named Cherry Trail system-on-chips featuring next-gen Airmont general-purpose x86 cores as well as its own eight-generation graphics core in late 2014. This product will clearly boost performance and cut power consumption, but it will unlikely become as revolutionary as its successor code-named Broxton.

Broxton: Revolutionary Universal Vehicle

The Broxton chip – for the first-time for Intel Atom-branded ultra-mobile solutions – will be built based on a special internal architecture that allows to quickly and easily reconfigure chips, create new designs and tailored solutions for particular applications. Generally, with Broxton, Intel will be able to address market opportunities significantly quicker than it does today. Chief executive of Intel even implied to expect a broad family of Broxton designs aimed at different high-performance applications.

Broxton will be based on next-generation Goldmont micro-architecture, will be made using 14nm process technology and will likely offer a number of unique capabilities that Intel does not want to talk about today. Given the fact that the Broxton design will allow integration of third-party IP into itself, it should largely rely on industry-standard technologies.

“Broxton is targeted towards the performance segment of the smartphones and tablets. Think of it as of the next-generation Atom. […] This is a core that has a complete new what we call “chassis” or, basically, connectivity that allows us to do iterations and derivatives of this [Broxton] core at a very fast clip. Think of it as of a core with a common chassis that allows connection of both external and external IP at a very fast rate, a kind of rate you see with our competitor’s products,” said Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel, at the meeting with investors.

In many ways Intel’s Broxton approach – which allows integration of third-party IP – resembles AMD’s “ambidextrous” strategy aimed primarily at semi-custom accelerated processing units.  Intel yet has to reveal the details about Broxton, but it looks like the company is getting a tad more liberal regarding designs of its chips.

Broxton will be available sometimes in mid-2015.

SoFIA: Low-Cost Phones Need Processing Capabilities

In a bid to properly address the market of entry-level smartphones and tablets, Intel will introduce code-named SoFIA system-on-chip with integrated global 3G, HSPA+ baseband capabilities and with Atom x86 general-purpose processing technology sometimes in late 2014.

In order to design the chip, Intel decided to take a relatively simple road: it took an SoC designed by Infineon’s wireless business unit (which Intel now owns) years ago, removed an ARM general-purpose core and installed its own 64-bit IA [Silvermont?] core instead. As a result, the company got a highly-integrated solution suitable for low-cost feature phones or smartphones. The SoFIA will be made by a contract manufacturer, not Intel itself.

In late 2015, Intel will introduce SoFIA with 4G/LTE, which will be made using 14nm process technology at Intel’s fabs.

Solid Roadmap Needs Execution

Intel clearly has reworked its mobile roadmap from what it looked some three to four months ago. The company scrapped certain products, delayed others, but moved forward a number of promising concepts. Will that help Intel to become a large maker of mobile SoCs? Only time will tell.


Tags: Intel, Atom, Broxton, SoFIA, 4G/LTE, Airmont, Goldmont, Merrifield, Moorefield, Morganfield, x86, Android, Google, Windows Phone, Microsoft


Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 11/23/13 10:00:04 AM
Latest comment: 08/16/14 12:32:20 PM
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Phone makers prefer to work with the ARM business model. Given a choice, nobody wants to play dirty games with Intel - cutting raw deals and doing dirty chip favours.
2 1 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 11/23/13 10:00:04 AM]
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You really believe in honesty in business world? With all that subsidizes flying around? And innuendos of fast cash in my pocket when "fruity machines eyes" stop at dollar sign? Potato-potatoe
1 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 11/25/13 02:36:34 AM]

Anyone knows what the asterix in the first slide means? (Regarding performance increase.)

Anyway, sounds impressive and might not let AMD's Mullins get off the ground.
0 0 [Posted by: ET3D  | Date: 11/24/13 02:25:33 AM]

Mobile device makers, many of them laptop makers, do remember the Intel of past, and present, and will never let themselves get in a situation where all their devices use CPUs made by one supplier! The ARM ecosystem does provide the maximum control and flexability for device manfactures. Some companies, like Apple, have the ARM Holdings' Top tier architecture license, and design custom ARM clones, that can run the ARM instruction set, while others will license the many ARM Holdings' refrence designs and other GPU IP, and have a ready made modular chip fabricated with a 3rd party foundry. Using the ARM ecosystem , and the technical assistence that ARM Holdings offers to its license holders, many companys, that could not ever afford to do what the larger dedicated chip makers do, can now make their own custom or refrence ARM designs, and not have to directly own or spend money on chip design, or uber expensive chip fabs!

OEMs may use Intel chips for some high end high cost designs, but they will never offer their entire device portfolio with just one suppliers CPU parts! Eventually the entire CPU, and GPU industry is going to be like the ARM ecosystem, with no one company dominating the device CPU/GPU market, and as IBM orginally intended with its x86 suppliers, the entire devices industry will utilize and aquire CPUs/GPUs like any other commodity! Suppliers of these parts, will no longer have the power over the OEMs, and Many OEMs will contract to have their own custom manfatured devices Designed/Built for that OEMs exclusive use! Expect the OS market to also become like a commodity market as OEMs begin to offer devices with Type 1 hypervisor virtual machine OSs, and a pick and choose selection of custom Linux based OSs, along side the traditional OSs of the past! Device users will be able the run one, or more of these pick and choose OSs to meet their needs!
1 1 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 11/24/13 01:40:28 PM]
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Perfect explanation. Except you forget a little tidy bit of info. ARM itself it's at least order of magnitude better performer than any crap that can come out of x86 clone. I dont see any reason why should we hide that.

This is just Intel marketing harsh work on tryouts where they do not wish to be forgotten in mobile world where nobody doesn't really have necessity to buy PC every two years. It similar to that BS spun off that Intel launched few weeks ago where they express deep concerns about our productivity if we use Intel's old systems. And yet, they were for once right when they said it - We should use other brands.
0 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 11/25/13 02:54:12 AM]

What the arm/linux lovers here don't get is that this is not about you, its about the consumer and the consumer want's windows on their phone, real fullblown windows, they want a phone sized computer with 64 bits windows 8.1 with all the goodies in smartphones (calling, gps, sms, lte +++) and they want to be able to place that "phone" beside their flat screen or possibly in a dockingstation with an additional SoC and additional ram and harddrive, wirelessly connecting keyboard and mouse to the "phone" and voila have a pc in their pocket with office and all the bells and whistles of a pc or workstation.

Arm will never be able to do that, Intel's x86 platform on the other hand, is perfect for that job.

So you go Intel and make us an x64 quad core, > 2.5 GHZ capable of adding another SoC on the fly (docking)! and gpu power enough for a dual 4k screen setup and you are back in business!
0 2 [Posted by: Christian Schiffer  | Date: 03/06/14 01:07:35 PM]

Are you from that Fringe parallel universe where Windows owns everything instead of Apple and Android in this one? Don't know many PC users that actually want Windows 8. As for ARM on Windows never happening - there is this little company called Microsoft selling an ARM based "Surface RT" tablet running windows 8. But then you must be from another universe if your ocular inputs derive value from a 4K handheld display.
0 0 [Posted by: Billabob Johnson  | Date: 08/16/14 12:32:20 PM]


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